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Canada Morning Update: Ottawa lifts retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products; Alberta Premier Jason Kenney promises ‘summer of repeal’

Good morning,

These are today’s top stories:

The Canadian government has lifted retaliatory tariffs on U.S. steel and aluminum

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The counter-tariffs have raised about $1.27-billion since last July, the federal government said, and all of it will go to the Canadian steel and aluminum industry. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had promised $2-billion last summer to support the industry, and last week said the financial assistance will still be there. (For subscribers)

Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced on Monday that $16-billion worth of retaliatory countermeasures against U.S. products have been lifted after the United States, Canada and Mexico reached a deal on Friday. Under the terms of the deal, U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to end his steel and aluminum tariffs within two days, which he formally did on Sunday night.

Canada and Mexico said they would cancel their retaliatory levies and all World Trade Organization litigation related to the nearly year-long trade war will end. Mr. Trump imposed the tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum on June 1 of last year.

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Kenney plans for ‘summer of repeal’ as United Conservatives enter legislature

After four years of New Democrat rule in Alberta, Premier Jason Kenney’s United Conservatives will enter the legislature for the first time as government. The Speech from the Throne on Wednesday will be followed by a legislative session that could stretch until after the Calgary Stampede, with Mr. Kenney promising a “summer of repeal” that would take aim at former premier Rachel Notley’s legacy.

The United Conservatives have said their first bill will end the collection of the province’s carbon tax on May 30 and will eventually repeal Alberta’s entire climate strategy, which includes energy-efficiency programs. Ottawa is expected to impose a federal carbon tax after Alberta’s tax disappears. Along with a bill that would remove the NDP’s labour and workplace safety rules, Mr. Kenney’s government has said it will then cut the corporate tax rate to 11 per cent from 12 per cent on July 1, which will be further reduced to 8 per cent over the next four years.

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Ford Motor Co. is cutting about 7,000 white-collar jobs, or 10 per cent of its global work force

The company said on Monday that it will have trimmed thousands of jobs by August. The restructuring will save about US$600-million a year by eliminating bureaucracy and increasing the number of workers reporting to each manager. In the United States, about 2,300 jobs will be cut through buyouts and layoffs. (For subscribers)

The company said in a statement it does not have details of the impact on its Canadian work force, but added all restructuring actions in North America will be wrapped up by June. A spokeswoman for Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains said Ford Canada will be announcing further details about its work force on Tuesday.

Jordan’s ‘prince of peace’ worried about Trump’s Israel-Palestinian plan

Jordan’s Prince Hassan bin Talal. (Nadia Bseiso/The Globe and Mail)

Nadia Bseiso

In an exclusive interview, Jordan’s Prince Hassan bin Talal told The Globe and Mail that the Middle East is living through a “strongest-takes-all” moment. Known a quarter-century ago as the “prince of peace” for his key role in helping bring about his country’s breakthrough reconciliation with neighbouring Israel, Prince Hassan is deeply pessimistic about U.S. President Donald Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. (For subscribers)

Few details are known about Mr. Trump’s proposal, which is being drafted by his son-in-law Jared Kushner. On Sunday, the White House said the United States would unveil the first phase of its peace plan at an international conference in Bahrain on June 25 – focusing on how peace could lead to economic prosperity. But Prince Hassan said that Mr. Trump’s moves over the past year – including relocating the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, cutting off funding to Palestinian refugees and recognizing Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights – pave the way for more aggression, rather than more peace.

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Residents of High Level, Alta., and surrounding areas were ordered to evacuate their homes late Monday as the largest of several wildfires in Alberta bore down on the small community. The evacuation order affects about 4,750 people in total in the northwestern corner of the province. The out-of-control fire expanded through the long weekend to cover 690 square kilometres, blocking two highways and burning as close as three kilometres to High Level. High winds and dry conditions are keeping the fire danger at an extreme level.

The federal government is launching a tourism strategy that not only aims to bring more foreign visitors to Canada, but also to get tourists to visit a greater variety of destinations and to attract more of them outside of the peak summer season. To be announced by Tourism Minister Mélanie Joly on Tuesday, the strategy aims to create 54,000 new jobs by 2025 and to see the tourism sector outpace the rest of the economy in terms of growth.

Access to affordable food in Nunavut worsened after the introduction of Nutrition North Canada – the federal government’s program meant to lower the prices for nutritious food in remote northern communities – according to a new study published Tuesday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. The study measured the level of food insecurity in Nunavut’s 10 largest communities across the first four years of Nutrition North and found that instead of food insecurity decreasing in that time, it increased by 13.2 percentage points – 46.6 per cent of Nunavut households said in 2014 they experienced inadequate access to food.

A breakthrough by researchers at McMaster University could save lives around the world by making it easier and far cheaper to deliver fragile vaccines for deadly viruses such as Ebola and influenza to remote communities in developing countries. The process involves combining sugars used for other purposes with the drugs, turning the temperature-sensitive vaccine into a lightweight sugary gel that can travel for long periods through harsh climates.

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On the topic of vaccines, André Picard writes that the U.S. government has paid out more than US$4-billion to victims of “vaccine injury” over the past three decades. “Skeptics frequently cite this as the ultimate proof that vaccines are harmful – but it’s nothing of the sort.”


Markets mixed

Stocks markets gained on Tuesday, with chip makers and stocks exposed to Asia among the best performers, after Washington temporarily eased trade restrictions imposed last week on China’s Huawei. Tokyo’s Nikkei lost 0.1 per cent, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng declined 0.5 per cent, though the Shanghai Composite gained 1.2 per cent. In Europe, London’s FTSE 100, Germany’s DAX and the Paris CAC 40 were up by between 0.6 and 1.1 per cent by about 6:45 a.m. ET. New York futures were up. The Canadian dollar was at about 74.5 US cents.


Game of Thrones has come to an end, and fans aren’t happy

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Barry Hertz: “Let’s start with talking about what went right in [series finale] The Iron Throne. First, there was that fairly cool, if obvious, shot of Dany walking in front of Drogon’s wings. Then there was the interesting decision to abandon any score for the episode’s first 10 minutes, to underline the hollowed-out nothingness that has become King’s Landing. And then … okay, that’s all I’ve got, because right now, all I can think about was everything that went wrong. This might take a while.”

Why our planet’s survival requires a political teardown

Dave Meslin: “I was born in 1974. We were the first generation to grow up with full awareness of the growing environmental crisis. We knew. Yet we’ve proven incapable, so far, of creating and implementing common-sense policies that have any true chance of averting irreversible disaster.” Dave Meslin is the author of Teardown: Rebuilding Democracy from the Ground Up.

Backlash over the Women’s Mosque of Canada is predictable – and misplaced

Amira Elghawaby: A few weeks before Ramadan, a group of women launched the Women’s Mosque of Canada. The inaugural Friday prayers were held inside Trinity-St. Paul’s United Church in Toronto. … While the prayers proceeded in tranquillity, reaction to the event was less calm. The debate that emerged once again symbolizes the divide that continues to exist in our communities when it comes to the place of women in traditional sacred spaces." Amira Elghawaby is a human-rights advocate and writer based in Ottawa


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(David Parkins/The Globe and Mail)

David Parkins /The Globe and Mail


The easiest way to get off tech? Find something else to do

Nathalie Atkinson started on a digital-mindfulness track when she began falling behind on the books in her to-be-read pile. The reason: time spent mindlessly swiping. “At the same time, I noticed how rapid digital access to immediate, vast information had started affecting my memory recall and deep reading/thinking,” she writes.

Atkinson found that the key to successful moderation of digital use was not only to be oriented away from the tempting bad habit, but to actively replace it with another activity. Dr. Imran Rashid, a medical doctor and IT entrepreneur, calls these countermoves. He tackles our uncritical tech usage in a reasoned how-to called Offline, a bestseller in his native Denmark now translated into English.


First solo non-stop transatlantic flight

Charles Lindbergh's monoplane Spirit of St Louis landing at Le Bourget Paris after his non-stop solo transatlantic flight from New York. (H. F. Davis/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

H. F. Davis/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

May 21, 1927: Charles Lindbergh flew a one-engine plane to Paris from New York, becoming the first person to fly solo non-stop over the Atlantic Ocean. The 25-year-old airmail pilot from Detroit landed the Spirit of St. Louis on this day in 1927 at Le Bourget airfield in the dark, and was greeted by a throng of 100,000 who had gathered to witness aviation history. He was nicknamed Lucky Lindy, but told The New York Times an excellent aircraft – not luck – made the 5,800-kilometre, 33 1/2-hour flight possible. The plane, paid for by a group of St. Louis investors, had extra fuel tanks and one seat. His feat won him the US$25,000 Orteig Prize, and instant fame that would change his life forever. His achievement was soon overshadowed by a family tragedy and, later, clouded by his public stand as a white supremacist and isolationist. In 1932, his two-year-old son, Charles Jr., was kidnapped from his bedroom at the family home in New Jersey and later found dead. As war brewed in Europe near the end of the 1930s, Lindbergh used his public platform to campaign against U.S. involvement in defending European allies, declaring fighting Nazis amounted to "racial suicide by internal conflict.” Shortly before the United States joined the war, he resigned his military appointment as the American public’s affection for him faded. – Eric Atkins

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